Coast Guard Transfers Two Former Cutters To Republic Of Georgia

Captain First Rank Ramaz Papidze, Deputy Head of Coast Guard Department for the Republic of Georgia, raises his country's flag for the first time aboard one of two cutters transferred to the Republic of Georgia at the Coast Guard Yard, Baltimore, Md., Sept. 30, 2016. The transfer of the two U.S. Coast Guard patrol boats to the Georgian Government is a result of a long-term strategic partnership between the U.S. and Georgia. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Barney.

Captain First Rank Ramaz Papidze, Deputy Head of Coast Guard Department for the Republic of Georgia, raises his country’s flag for the first time aboard one of two cutters transferred to the Republic of Georgia at the Coast Guard Yard, Baltimore, Md., Sept. 30, 2016.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Barney.

The Coast Guard transferred the former Coast Guard Cutter Jefferson Island and Coast Guard Cutter Staten Island to the Georgian coast guard in a ceremony at the Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay, Maryland, Sept. 30, 2016. The event marks the Office of International Acquisition’s first transfer of 110-foot patrol boats to a friendly nation through the Excess Defense Articles program.

The former cutters are scheduled to be shipped to Georgia in summer 2017 after completing maintenance, upgrades, outfitting and training of Georgian coast guard crews in the Baltimore area. The Coast Guard will provide new equipment and technical and training services worth $5.3 million under a Foreign Military Sales letter of offer and acceptance with Georgia. The ships’ new names are Ochamchire and Dioskuria.

“The transfer of these boats will significantly enhance Georgia’s capacity to monitor and secure its coastline, and make Georgia a stronger bulwark against regional and transnational threats,” said Nicholas Berliner, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia, in his ceremony remarks. “The enhanced capabilities these modern boats offer will significantly reduce the response time it takes for the Georgian coast guard to investigate and interdict the potential transport of illicit goods, the smuggling of weapons of mass destruction components, or other illegal activities being carried out in the surrounding waters.”

Each 110-foot patrol boat transfer also saves the Coast Guard approximately $400,000 in remediation and disposal costs.

The Coast Guard decommissioned Jefferson Island and Staten Island in October 2014. The multimission 110-foot patrol boats entered service in the mid-1980s. Of the 49 original Island-class vessels, 27 remain in service. The Coast Guard is replacing the ships with 58 154-foot fast response cutters, 18 of which are in service.

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